By: Gabriella DeBono
Numerous muscles in and around your hip joint help create the flexibility and power required for everything you do on and off the ice. The most powerful muscles of the hip are the hip flexor group. Considered two main muscles, having a strong Iliacus and Psoas major (often referred to together as the Iliopsoas) is the key to staying injury free.
In the picture below, you can see that the Psoas muscle is attached to your lumbar spine, or lower back, and runs all the way to the top of your femur (your thigh bone). The other hip flexor muscle, the Iliacus, it attached to a spot on your pelvis called the Iliac fossa and runs to almost the same spot on your leg as its counterpart.
If your think of muscles as an elastic band attached to two spots, these muscles stretch and contract not only when your legs move, but when your core moves as well. Remember, your core is made up of all your trunk muscles, this includes your back and, that’s right, your hip flexors!
It’s All Connected
The body is a connected network. Often, when injuries occur, the problem is not at the sight of pain. For example, lower back pain can be caused by having tight or weak hip flexor muscles because of their attachment point. Weak hip flexors, along with weak gluteal muscles, can also cause of knee pain due to poor form when performing jumps and spins.
Connecting your trunk to your lower body, the strength of your hip flexors is essential to prioritize in your training in order to keep your whole body strong and in proper alignment. Unsure of how to keep your hips healthy?
Here are a few exercises from the Flexafit program you can try at home:
1. Box jumps with hip extension
Not only will this exercise get your heart pumping and your quads burning, but it focuses on hip flexor activation with an isolated hip-extension jump movement at the end of the box jump series.
2. Alternating lunge jumps
These are a great addition to any HITT routine and combine strength and flexibility all in one exercise. To challenge yourself, try to scissor your back leg to the front and behind before landing in the opposite lunge!